Tuesday, 27 February 2007

'Genius' pianists recordings uncovered as fakes

It was one of the most sensational stories to emerge from the music world.

Largely unknown and crippled by ovarian cancer, ailing classical pianist Joyce Hatto released 104 flawless recitals of the most challenging concertos ever written in the last years of her life.

Music experts were amazed by her masterful performances of works by Brahms, Liszt, Mozart and Beethoven, all produced by husband William Barrington-Coupe and released on their tiny record label Concert Artists.

By the time she died last June, aged 77, critics were hailing Joyce as a "national treasure" and "one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced".

But in an extraordinary twist, it has now emerged that several of the recitals are fakes.

Instead of being performed by Joyce on her Steinway piano, at least five of the records were by other artists and conductors.

Daily Mail:

Hatto was born in Kilburn, North-West London, in September 1928, the daughter of a confectioner who loved music, especially Rachmaninov.

In interviews she gave before her death, she said she honed her playing technique through hours of practice during the Blitz, cowering under the piano as the German bombs rained on London.

She also claimed influential composer Sir Granville Bantock described her as a "born performer" and failed to get into the Royal Academy when a tutor apparently said it was "more important for a girl like you to cook roast dinner than play piano".

However, no-one who can verify the story is still alive.

In 1970 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and quit performing in 1976 after a critic wrote harshly it was "impolite to look ill".